Sunday, 28 January 2018

Jungle Trek session 2: Please insert Drow

Session two of our heroes' ongoing attempt to be taken for actual sentient beings in the jungle of Xen'Drik. This time on Jungle Trek: velociraptors, playing catch with stone giants, a murder non-mystery thanks to the local cows, and Please insert Drow.

Our noble, heroic, stalwart explorers:

  • Drake - male human healer [non-player character, hireling]
  • Eorie - female human rogue [non-player character, hireling]
  • Santash - male kalashtar psion who shoved his mind into his psicrystal [non-player character]

And their fellow travelers:

  • Indiana Gnoll - male Gnoll ranger. Whip. Deranged laugh. [player: Robert]
  • Woody the Warforged Wizard [player: Bas]
Last episode of Jungle Trek, Indy and Woody saved Neskill, a dark elf kid from a dirty old man who was also a tree and way too interested in the local wildlife. Neskill agrees to give them some pointers on the area and helps them along the river to the edge of his tribe's territory. The big parting advice being to 1) keep going downstream until you hit the river Hydra and follow it back to Stormreach city; 2) when you hit the big lake in a couple of days, watch out for a) giants b) drow c) dragons d) funky pearls that give you mucho arcane power ("We're going there!") but make you puke out your guts ("I'm a golem, I don't even have a stomach.")

Session highlights include

Getting your ass handed to you by a vicious
goose since the Jurassic era. Source.
- a wandering monster check which leads to a lively little combat with a pack of velociraptors. Published stats don't really match the Jurassic Park publicity, but we make do. The real fun begins when the gnoll is left hanging off of a tree branch above a hungry raptor. Much biting and clawing ensues before the pack is driven off.

- a big lake with curious Wyverns overhead ("We need to tame one of them!"), a tribe of pretty friendly giants, and a murder mystery with a giant cow herd gone missing and the local dark elves upset for some reason;

- an island with a pleasant white sand beach that glows softly at night - swimming there was considered good excercise and the pearls sure were pretty, but the unmanly loss of strength and weeping of blood was considered a bit off-putting so the giants are now into weight lifting ("No way are we going there.")

Good excercise, rock throwing. Also keeps the Wyverns away.
Source.


- the party wizard, who speaks all languages known to man, giant, elf and animal, but still can't quite convince the giants that he's a person - at least the gnoll has a chit from a druid saying he's a bona fide sentient;

- a tower a couple of 100 meters out in the water with no boat in sight, warning totem statues on the waterline and hungry undead on the bottom, with a little blood offering enough to summon a spectral barge to what turns out to be the ruins of a messed up school for giants with a talent for magic;

- a big wooden barge flying across the land ("We could be home in a couple of weeks flying!") which makes a tour of the shore, a huge stone structure floating half a mile above the water level ("We need to get up there"), and aforementioned ruined tower, but is a bit too moldy after 40.000 years of service to carry a full-grown giant (making it a great ride for the teenagers);

- a trio of eager local yokel giant teenagers who offer to guide the party to the tower in the lake (and then come home right away for supper, says their even more giant dad), but when the party checks only 2 out of the 3 have turned home and the third is nowhere to be seen;

- the local cows, which immediately tell the wizard-who-can-speak-to-animals that no, wasn't the dark elves that killed the cow herd, actually the three punks took him into the forest where there's a patch of jungle dead from extreme cold, and more signs of a brawl;

- the magic tower, with on the ground floor a decayed class room and a book made of metal with magic tricks inside. On the second floor (now open to the sky because the rest of the tower broke off) a magic 3D printer. It will create a magic amulet when you insert some hapless sacrifice into the blood altar conveniently placed on a balcony over the bay. Boy, the giants had many uses for their elf slaves;

Please insert Drow to continue. Source.


- some trouble as the warforged wizard (but noone else) gets zapped by lightning when he wants to try and mess with the 3D printer;

- the sacrifice of a magically summoned pony which nets the group a pat on the back for clever thinking, and an amulet which pops out of exisitence at the end of the summon animal spell. Meanwhile, there's a giant-sized corpse down in the water, and the group spend some time looking for a "fetch drow" spell that will yank some schmuck out of the trees and across the water, but it seems this function is not available at your clearance level, citizen;

- the spectral boat suddenly popping up again at the shore dock and coming to the tower even though there's no-one on board, but it turns there is. The giant kid slips on a grease spell, hits the water and his invisibility pops out (as does the illusion hiding his horns, malformed jaw and golden finger nails), after which he falls for the old "masonry dropped from second story, longspear set to impale when he charges up the stairs in a rage" trick, is deposited onto the sacrificial altar, and presto, a permanent magic amulet;

- the barge on its circuit across the bay coming to a full stop where the roof of the tower used to be, only 10 meters out of reach.

Session ends, the two hirelings level up but the player characters don't, and after an exhausting evening I dream that the players have found some Pathfinder character creation trick to give their healer a constitution of 52.

Huh.

More jungle, more giant biomancy, more mayhem to follow.

Source materials

This session's prep was brought to your courtesy a map/site from Secrets of Xen'drik [1], a conflict lifted from an adventure in Dragon #345, and most of all an awesome adventure area from Trilemma Adventures.

[1] Avoid. Adventure sites in the book present no conflict, basically they're a map and lackluster area descriptions, either already looted or just not detailed. Case in point - the site used in this session is a tower in the middle of a cursed lake. When the players make it to the entrance, what does the book have to say? "The door to the tower is sealed. How to open it (and what lies within) is left to the DM to determine."

If I have to add the actual NPCs, treasure, traps and general conflict myself, why am I reading your book again?